Yay, fame. *snort*
What, me apathetic? I wish I cared!
Since I'm sure some of you came here from my good buddy Jes Gölbez's hockey blog, I might as well take the time to expound upon a few things noted in his entry about the Hurricanes:
1) Chairman Mo Teh Coach and his reign over the team:
I'm sure Toronto fans will disagree with me, since Chairman Mo is now in the Center Of The Universe (and is therefore infallible and the next coach who will lead the Leafs to the Promised Land of another 39 years without a Cup)--but the man has a LOT to learn about coaching in the NHL. 2002 was a wonderful time for Hurricanes fans. It was a magical and miraculous time when, for one shining moment, the Hurricanes played like world-beaters and the Caniac Nation (est. 1997) really believed with all its heart and soul that their boys would win it all. But in the final analysis, it was an anomaly when looked at in comparison with the other seven years and change of Paul Maurice's tenure behind the bench.
It's been said many times that the Carolina Hurricanes are the best self-coached team in the NHL--and that's largely true. Now, Paul Maurice is a nice bloke who is possessed of a great deal of charm and is fairly smart. But as a coach, his sins were many and they were great. This is a guy who rarely if ever talked to his players and communicated his expectations of them--and I'm not talking about running the board in practice, either. Interpersonal conflicts on the team were left to fester to the point where Rutherford's hand was forced into a trade or (in the case of a certain Latvian goaltender) a banishment to the minors. Player development was stifled under Paul Maurice--Shane Willis, David Tanabe, Jeff Heerema, and even Nikos bloody Tselios all had the chance to be more than they were. But under Paul Maurice, that didn't happen--especially in the case of 2001 playoff martyr Shane Willis, who fans loved but Chairman Mo never really liked. It always angers me to see my fellow Hurricanes fans bashing Sandis Ozolinsh left right and center, when he was grossly misused by a coach whose sole philosophy on the game is "play not to lose". HELLO PEOPLE, WHAT THE HELLS DID YOU EXPECT FROM AN OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN IN A NO-OFFENSE-ALLOWED SYSTEM!? Sheesh!
And let's spend a moment talking one Emmanuel Legace. Ah yes, good ol' Manny, who had the unmitigated gall to outperform franchise anointed goaltenders Jason "The Fighting Scorpion" Muzzatti and Sean Burke in the first NC training camp--and found out through comments in the press that he'd be banished to the minors and probably never have a shot at the bigtime with this team. Manny bitched in the press (and can you blame him?), and for his trouble found himself traded to the Kings for a draft pick (and then acquired on the waiver wire by those classless (except for Steve Yzerman) motherfuckers in Detroit). Forget Giguere--he didn't get good until he met Francois Allaire. Legace, OTOH--he could have been our franchise guy and he's the one draftee of ours that we should forever regret letting go (don't bring up Ron Francis, kids--he's on a whole other level).
The 8 years of Chairman Mo's regime were a bizarre triptych of mediocrity, mismanagement, and melodrama painted with excuses and Omerta where anyone not named Jeff O'Neill who dared voice any criticisms of management or coaching was summarily banished never to be seen again, and it'll take more than half a season to finally bring to fruition the badly-needed reforms of Peter Laviolette. Which brings me to....
2) Peter Laviolette and his one big flaw.
Lavy has a great deal of enthusiasm for hockey, a strong desire to win, and brings a very aggressive puck-pursuit game to the Hurricanes. He talks to his players and makes his expectations clear--and he refuses to make or accept excuses, which is very refreshing. He's like NCSU football coach Chuck Amato in that regard, except he doesn't have a Norm Chow-type offensive coordinator and never came to us from the Felony State Criminoles. (Oh lord, here come the State fans with the pitchforks and torches now)
He doesn't have the high degree of personal charm that Paul Maurice has, which can be a problem come crunch time. What he needs (and didn't have on the Island) is a Warchief, somebody who will keep the troops in line and lead them in his name--enter Rod Brind'amour. Rod is not a guy to fuck around, and he's the kind of Feldmarschall that the 'Canes will need when the going gets rough and the team threatens to crack.
3) Jimmy Rutherford and his deal-making skills (or lack thereof).
See, I have my issues with JimR. Well, one issue really--which I discussed down here. Sometimes I'm forced to wonder WTF he's doing, really. Why do we need to draft eleventy billion goaltenders? Why make all these head-scratching trades? And let's not get started on the Wesley signing, back in the high and far-off times when this team wore green and played in Hartford--I love Glen Wesley, I really do. But any Caniac that claims that the original RFA signing was worth the long-term systemic damage it did to this team is, in my opinion, a clueless fucking moron with oatmeal for brains. The guy needs somebody to give him a poke and say "is this trade really necessary? Don't you think we can do better than this?"
4) Guys I have pegged for Lowell:
Why Jes plugged some of these blokes into the roster, I'll never know--perhaps he had some BC Bud or something, or somebody slipped some acid into his protein powder.
Anyway, these are the Lowell-bound guys:
Krispy Kreme (unless he manages to avoid the corner of Peace and Person Streets*, in which case he may stay with the big club)
Guys on the bubble are Andrew Hutchinson and Brrrrruno St. Jacques.
And, on that note, I am going to work. Go 'Canes.